Spring has sprung, and with it comes promising news about the U.S. venture capital space: Data released this week from KPMG found $17.3 billion worth of venture capital (VC) funding landing at U.S. startups in the first quarter of 2017.
“It appears that we may have reached a turning point despite a continued decline in VC deal activity in Q1 as market conditions and valuations are stabilizing,” said Brian Hughes, national co-lead partner at KPMG’s Venture Capital Practice, in a statement.
This week, the U.S. held a strong presence in B2B FinTech venture capital — half of the eight funding rounds closed in this space this week went to U.S. startups, while India, the Philippines and France also landed on the board.
Investments hit a wide array of industries, too, with enterprise security and IoT leading the charge. Below we break down the more than $117 million raised this week for B2B startups below.
With a focus on the food and beverage space, Full Harvest connects restaurants and other industry players with farmers that have discounted, imperfect product. The company announced this week it raised $2 million in seed funding led by Wireframe Ventures — BBG Ventures, Early Impact Ventures, Impact Engine and angel investors also participated, according to reports. U.S.-based Full Harvest operates an online platform for restaurants and other food and beverage companies to procure the discounted produce in an effort to cut back on food waste. Reports said the startup will use the seed financing to scale its online marketplace and bolster sales and technology staff.
Akoonu announced an $8 million Series A financing round this week as it gave a full release to its flagship product, Akoonu for Sales. The U.S. company provides software that uses data analytics technology to support companies with complex B2B sales processes and enable buyer progress mapping; the technology integrates with existing CRM systems to provide buyer insights. The firm links its corporate clients with account-based selling on Salesforce solutions. Backers at Shasta Ventures led the funding, reports said, which will go toward product development and market entry.
Emiza Supply Chain Services
India’s Emiza Supply Chain Services saw some support from U.S. investors this week thanks to $4.5 million in Series A funding. The logistics startup provides business warehousing and less-than-truckload distribution solutions across the country with a focus on SMEs. The funding, provided by Silicon Valley–based Mayfield, will help the company target what it considers to be an underserved segment of the industry, with SMEs lacking enough logistics solutions providers. According to Mayfield, too, while India has strong primary distribution and last-mile logistics service providers, there are few companies like Emiza that connect the two.
Scoring new funding from some of the highest-profile backers of the week, Synack, based in the U.S., announced a $21.25 million Series C funding round this week. Microsoft Ventures led the round, while Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Singtel Innov8 also participated, according to reports. GGV Capital, GV and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers also stepped in, reports added. Synack combines software security solutions with white-hat hackers to safeguard enterprise customers in what CTO Mark Kuhr told reports was an effort to “couple the human element with machines.”
Similar to Synack, HackerEarth also wields the power of hackers in an effort to safeguard the enterprise. The India-based firm announced $4.5 million in new funding this week, with DHI Group leading the Series A round. Japan-based Beenext, Beenos, Digital Garage and BizReach also participated, as did existing investor Prime Venture Partners, according to reports. HackerEarth first launched out of arranged hackathons and enables corporates to participate in these events in an effort to boost participation in the enterprise security, space and support innovation. Those hackathons can be private or public and engage hackers both within and outside of businesses. The startup said it will use the funds to run small-scale experiments in the U.S., Europe and Southeast Asia.
Internet of Things
This IoT-technology startup, based in France, may be the most complex company in this week’s roundup, but it also secured the most funding: $75 million. Backers at Creadev, Bosch, Inmarsat, Idinvest, Bpifrance, Ginko Ventures, KPN, Orange Digital Ventures and Foxconn all participated in the Series F funding round, reports said. Actility provides low-power wide area networks for the IoT and will use the latest funding to expand its portfolio of IoT solutions into the worlds of logistics and supply chain, energy and utilities, and smart buildings. The company is a co-inventor of LoRaWAN, a radio network protocol for IoT.
First Circle, based in the Philippines, announced $1.3 million in new funding from Action Venture Lab and Deep Blue Ventures. The company operates an SME lending portal and has reportedly paid out more than $5 million in small business loans so far. With the new funds, First Circle said it will continue to crack into the Philippines market, where 99 percent of all companies are SMEs, but those small businesses make up just 40 percent of economic output, according to reports.
Supply Chain Management
Targeting the coffee industry, bext360 has launched and announced $1.2 million in VC raised by SKS Venture Partners. The company, based in the U.S., provide hardware and technology to enable coffee supplier payments, using blockchain and artificial intelligence that can analyze the quality of that coffee and facilitate invoice payments or supplier financing. According to bext360, its services aim to support the livelihood of small, independent farmers in developing markets.